It was the same old story for the Nets in Brooklyn Friday night, continuing their dominance over the last two months inside Barclays Center with an easy 116-104 win over the Pistons.

The news came after the game, when coach Jason Kidd said Kevin Garnett could make his long-awaited return to the floor Saturday in Philadelphia where the Nets begin a three-game road trip against the hapless 76ers.
“He felt better today,” Kidd said of Garnett, who went through a 1-on-1 workout with Andrei Kirilenko Thursday before going through another workout Friday. “We’ll see how this plane ride goes, and then we’ll see in the morning how he feels.

“We would like to try to get him to go [Saturday], but it’s up to him.”

The Nets were understandably excited about the possibility of Garnett, who is one of the team’s two emotional leaders along with close friend and fellow former Celtic Paul Pierce, finally getting back on the floor for the first time since playing 12 minutes in the team’s rout of the Nuggets on Feb. 27. Since then, Garnett has barely been seen because of an ongoing case of back spasms.

“It means everything,” Shaun Livingston said of Garnett’s return. “It means everything to this team. He’s our leader. With him being back out there, it just gives us that presence and confidence just seeing him out there.
“We’ll welcome him back when he’s ready.”

The Nets (41-34), who increased their franchise-record to 15 home wins in a row thanks to shooting over 60 percent from the field and going 15-for-31 from 3-point range, would love for Garnett to be ready against the 76ers.
But this isn’t the first time Garnett has been close to a return. On March 10 against the Raptors, Kidd went as far as to say Garnett was going to be in the starting lineup, and he participated in warm-ups before being scratched moments before opening tip.

He’s at that point again and assuming he doesn’t have a setback this time, it could work out perfectly for the Nets. With seven games remaining, the Nets could play Garnett against the Sixers, then against either the Heat or Magic in Florida on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, before having three home games to get him back into game shape before the playoffs arrive.

After struggling without him all season up until this latest stint on the sidelines, the Nets have learned how to play without Garnett over the last month, going 14-5 without him while gaining valuable experience for rookie Mason Plumlee who has stepped into Garnett’s spot in the lineup and performed admirably.

Assuming Garnett is able to return without any further issues, learning how to play without him could be the most important development of the past several weeks. Kidd has maintained Garnett’s season-long minutes cap of no more than the mid-20s per game isn’t going to change once the playoffs begin, meaning the Nets will still spend plenty of time in the postseason with him on the sidelines.

“It’s huge, being that there’s eight games left as we make this playoff push to try and gather some momentum and chemistry back with [Kevin] out there going into the playoffs,” Pierce said. “With him out there, it makes us an even deeper team.